HRSA names Georgia state dental director its new chief dental officer

ADA shares top priorities with agency

Washington - The Health Resources and Services Administration has named Adam Barefoot, D.M.D., M.P.H., chief dental officer.

Dr. Barefoot was most recently the state dental director for the Georgia Department of Public Health where he led the state's oral health program to improve oral health outcomes and reduce oral health disparities, according to a Dear Colleague letter from the United States Public Health Service. He previously served as a dental director for a federally qualified health center in rural Georgia, which led to him focusing on "population level interventions that have more significant impacts on oral health and contributions to improved public health approaches in the field of dentistry."

In a June 8 letter, ADA President Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S., and Executive Director Raymond A. Cohlmia, D.D.S., congratulated Dr. Barefoot on his new position, noting the appointment of a chief dental officer to oversee and coordinate dental issues within HRSA was an "important priority for the ADA" in its efforts to support optimal oral health for all.

The ADA also shared the following priorities it hopes HRSA will focus on:

  • Reforming health professional shortage area scoring.
  • Ensuring loan repayment equity for early career-dentists in federally qualified health centers with added clarity on eligible health professional shortage area scores.
  • Addressing dental workforce shortages through Title VII oral health training grants.
  • Expanding efforts to increase the dental workforce presence in underserved communities and among underserved populations through the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program.
  • Improving health literacy for the public and increasing medical provider education about oral health to meet the HHS Healthy People 2030 target for optimal utilization of the oral health care system.
  • Addressing oral health disparities by recognizing the social determinants of health to achieve optimal oral health for all people.
  • Continuing to prioritize the Integration of Oral Health and Primary Care Practice initiative.
  • Addressing disparities between dental case management and medical case management.
  • Offering loan repayment to dentists who collaborate with addiction specialists.
  • Supporting medical-dental collaboration projects which integrate oral health into primary care settings and facilitating "warm hand-offs" from hospital emergency departments into dental settings.
  • Promoting the value of community water fluoridation as a safe, cost effective, healthy and equitable disease prevention strategy within community-based programs.
  • Addressing maternal and child dental needs such as sealants and access to care for pregnant women as indicators for health equity advancement.

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